Art of Conservation Exhibition in New York

Pollyanna was pleased to attend the gala opening weekend of the inaugural exhibition of the Artists for Conservation exhibition in New York. The exhibition celebrates artistic excellence in the depiction of nature, raises awareness of conservation issues and directly supports organizations dedicated to addressing them.

The exhibition was hosted by the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum – one of the world's leading museums for nature and wildlife art – situated half an hour from downtown Manhatten.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), based in New York City, was selected as the beneficiary for 2008. The WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, global conservation, and education.

An official line up at the exhibition with the AFC flag featured artists Robert Bateman, Terry Woodall, Allison Nicholls, Pollyanna, David Kitler and Robert Rankin.(left to right)

The exhibition featured 112 original artworks selected by an independent jury including work by Pollyanna inspired by her AFC Flag Expedition to Bhutan. Her fellowship expedition was one of three selected by the AFC to feature in special displays at the exhibition, alongside those of Allison Nichols (above centre), who studied Painted Dogs in Kenya, and David Kitler (second from right) who studied a Harpy Eagle nest in Panama.

Pollyanna's expedition is also the subject of a chapter in the show companion book.This beautiful coffee-table book - which is 10” square, 188 pages, hardbound, and in printed in full color -not only features artwork from the show, but also several additional chapters that provide context and information about the show itself, the Blauvelt Museum, WCS The AFC and the Expeditions program and the Simon Combes Conservation Award. It is very reasonably priced, at $US 39.95, plus shipping and applicable taxes. A limited number of copies of the book are available for order, directly from the AFC by emailing info@natureartists.com

The opening reception weekend was acclaimed as a resounding success. The weekend event involved two field trips, a lecture evening, dinner & awards evening, group photo session and opening cocktail reception afternoon. The event broke all previous attendance records for the Blauvelt Museum.

As attendees arrived, they were greeted not only by the beautiful historic building, but also by an eye-catching and larger-than-life sign mounted above the Museum entrance. In addition a 2.5 meter(10 foot) AFC flag flew from a flagpole at the entrance.

On the lecture evening AFC President, Jeff Whiting welcomed attendees and gave a introductory talk about the AFC’s beginnings through to the launch of the first show and book. Jeff also informed attendees of the AFC’s current programs, the leadership role that the AFC plays in bringing the arts and conservation communities together and his future vision for the AFC.

Four lectures followed, including one from Kat Combes, widow of late AFC member and renowned artist/conservationist, Simon Combes. Pollyanna shared some fascinating and often humorous stories of her and her daughter Anna-Louise’stravels through the remote, Yeti-inhabited, forests and mountains of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

On Saturday evening The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum hosted a top-notch VIP cocktail reception, three course dinner and awards ceremony for exhibiting artists, special patron guests, and WCS, Museum and AFC representatives. Guests were welcomed by the Museum’s Executive Director, Marijane Singer. AFC President, Jeff Whiting, as Master of Ceremonies, echoed the welcome and spoke in brief about the AFCand its programs,

The Simon Combes Conservation Award – the AFC’s top honor – is given to an artist member who has shown extraordinary support for the conservation cause through his or her art. This year’s recipient was world-renowned artist Robert Bateman of BC, Canada. (Above left, with Pollyanna).

Mr. Bateman addressed the audience with an inspirational speech about a societal role in conservation.

Mr. Bateman took the opportunity to reflecting on what he termed his two major activities these days – “painting and ranting”. - in fact an impassioned plea that society “pay attention” and “be prepared to pay a little more to save paying a lot more later”.

On Sunday Pollyanna attended the 'Meet the Artists' reception, when the Museum doors officially opened to 400 guests over the afternoon - which also broke attendance records for an opening reception at the Museum.

Due to popular demand, the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum extended the 'Art of Conservation' exhibit for a further six months until June, 2009.